Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
World champion rock climber teams up with adventurer to tackle ice climbs in Lake Superior.
Sasha DiGiulian is no stranger to a brutal challenge and, for a three-part series, has swapped her rock climbing gear for her ice tools. The American teamed up with adventurer Angela VanWiemeersch to tackle the below-zero temperatures of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, aka the UP. Here is all you need to know:
– In January DiGiulian and VanWiemeersch teamed up to climb some of Michigan’s most challenging ice ascents. The humid yet cold weather harbors perfect conditions for climbable ice.
– Superior Ice plots the pair’s two-week challenge ascending some of the hardest and tallest ice climbs in the UP at Pictured Rocks National Shoreline and Grand Island.
– Lake Superior boasts 60-metre-tall ice climbs needing an airboat, snowmobiles and snowshoes to access.
– DiGiulian learned how to use and negotiate ice tools in just two weeks back in 2015. In 2012 she also became the first American woman to climb a grade 9a, and in 2017 she was the first female up the 700-metre Mora Mora in Madagascar.
– A rock climbing emoji has been designed on her likeness.
– DiGiulian described her co-climber as “totally inspiring”. She added: “Seeing her conquer daunting ice faces with confidence and bravado made me believe that I could become capable too. I have always believed empowered women empower other women. Working together, we can obliterate boundaries. I want to be the most well rounded, capable athlete that I can be. In doing so, I hope that women of all ages can see my trips and say, I can too.”
– Of the duo’s voyage, VanWiemeersch, from Michigan, said: “I think there is a stigma associated with ice climbing that it’s dangerous, you can’t fall, all of which is true but I think it deters some ladies. Luckily, I see this stigma losing steam. Ice climbing is enchanting, beautiful and engaging. As more women try ice climbing, I see this shift in their perception.”
– VanWiemeersch was a competitive ice skater but traded the skates for crampons to tackle the ice climbs of what is effectively her wider neighbourhood.
Watch episode one of the three-part series & stay tuned for the next episode: